Heart and Soul [And Buster]
I was watching the Giants versus the Pirates yesterday, when Marco Scutaro was struck on the left hand by a pitch thrown by Tony Watson, in an eerily similar incident to the one which has sidelined Ryan Vogelsong. For Giants fans it is a depressing injury, because Marco Scutaro embodies so much of the spirit which empowers the Giants.
However, that being said, I must clarify that I do not think this injury, as devastating as it may seem at the moment, will prevent the Giants from succeeding in their quest to make the playoffs, for the third time in the last four years. And as all Giants fans have come to realize, if we can get to the playoffs, big things can happen. I do believe that the Giants will make the playoffs for the following seven reasons.
First, they have excellent pitching; we all know that. What? The starting pitching is not what is has been, and Vogelsong is injured? Pitchers are human; as such, they experience the highs and lows that all professional athletes endure. The fact that this season has witnessed some inconsistencies, does not mean that our very talented staff is deteriorating. It just means that we have seen a preponderance of lows, and can therefore, reasonably expect, that we will see the corresponding highs of a successful pitching staff, in the latter part of the season. Besides, Chad Gaudan has filled in admirably for the injured V-Song, and that is extremely helpful.
Second, the Giants have experience; they are a group of veteran ballplayers who will not abandon their hustle and their belief in one another, just because the injury bug has struck. They have been down this road before, as recently as the season before last, when the heart and soul of the team went down, with an inning-ending injury. But Buster Posey is back, and it’s just an ongoing sign that even the worst of the injuries has a time frame that allows fans to recognize that it’s all part of the game, and one reason why the season is 162 games in length.
Third, the Giants have chemistry. This is a term that has repeatedly come up over the course of the past three seasons. It just means that when one player struggles to perform at peak level, the others try to pick him up. When one pitcher cannot maintain the highest of standards, the others try to compensate. If someone commits an error, the rest strive to overcome that error, and take away the next batter’s chances of getting on base, because that’s what teammates do. Hitters try to emulate each other’s success, because that’s what makes an offense a formidable weapon. The Giants love to play the game, and they demonstrate that repeatedly, especially when it involves coming from behind to compete in the late innings.
Fourth, the Giants have the element of the twelfth man, their loyal fans. I do not think it is hyperbole to say that AT&T Park, jammed to the rafters, for how many consecutive games, is a significant reason for the aforementioned, late-inning success.
Fifth, the Giants have leadership. Bruce Bochy is a manager who understands the importance of sticking with proven players, even when there are mitigating circumstances. He knows when to back off, and he knows when to give someone a break. He works well with Brian Sabean, who has stocked the team with players who mesh well with the expansive boundaries of AT&T Park. He has speedy outfielders who cover a lot of territory, and he has pitchers who know that it takes a lot to put one over the wall. And Sabean has proven that he knows how to supplement the team just before the trade deadline, as the acquisition of Mr. Hustle himself, Hunter Pence, demonstrated last season.
Sixth, the Giants have depth. Joaquin Arias filled in for Pablo last season, with no letup in defense, while batting .400 in the month of August. Tony Abreu, Brett Pill, and Nick Noonan all have the tools to provide the backup that is so essential, and anyone who watched Juan Perez’ debut on Sunday, can see that he will provide superior defense in the outfield. This goes back to what I said about Brian Sabean’s savvy, when it comes to creating a competitive team.
Seventh, and arguably the most important, is Buster. All I have to do is refer to 2011, for Giants fans to know what I’m sayin’/talkin’ about. With Buster Posey we have the core of our team, indomitable and ready to lead us once again into the playoffs, where big things happen.
Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong; just don’t tell the Giants. They’ll have none of it. What they do have is heart and soul, which adds up to success.